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Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor who is considered one of the major composers of the 20th century. He was born in Sontsovka, Ukraine, and showed musical talent from a young age. Prokofiev studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he was a brilliant student.

Prokofiev's music is known for its modern, distinctive style, which blends traditional Russian influences with a more dissonant and experimental approach. He wrote in a variety of genres, including symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, and chamber music. Some of his most famous works include the ballet "Romeo and Juliet," the "Peter and the Wolf" children's story with music, and the "Classical Symphony."

Prokofiev faced challenges during his career, including criticism from the Soviet authorities for his perceived formalism and Western influences in his music. Despite this, he remained a prolific composer, creating many works that are now considered masterpieces of the 20th century.


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1891: Sergei Prokofiev is born in Sontsovka, Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire.

1904-1914: Prokofiev studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he excels in composition, piano, and conducting. During this time, he begins to gain recognition for his compositions.

1911: Prokofiev completes his first opera, "The Gambler," based on the novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

1914-1918: Prokofiev tours as a pianist, performing his own compositions across Russia and Europe. He also begins to compose some of his most famous works, including the first two piano concertos.

1918-1923: Prokofiev leaves Russia after the October Revolution and settles in the United States and later France. During this time, he continues to compose prolifically, producing works such as the ballet "Chout" and the opera "The Love for Three Oranges."

1927: Prokofiev returns to the Soviet Union, hoping to contribute to the cultural revival under the New Economic Policy. He settles in Moscow and becomes a prominent figure in Soviet musical life.

1936: Prokofiev's opera "War and Peace," based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy, premieres in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) to critical acclaim.

1938: Prokofiev's ballet "Romeo and Juliet" premieres in Brno, Czechoslovakia, becoming one of his most famous and beloved works.

1939: Prokofiev completes his Symphony No. 5, which is widely regarded as one of his greatest symphonic works.

1941-1945: Prokofiev composes prolifically during World War II, including his War Sonatas for piano (Sonatas No. 6, 7, and 8) and the epic Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution.

1945: Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 is performed in the United States, receiving widespread acclaim and further establishing his reputation as a leading composer of the 20th century.

1948: Prokofiev, along with other prominent Soviet composers, is denounced by the Soviet authorities for formalism, leading to a period of artistic censorship and restriction.

1953: Prokofiev dies on March 5, 1953, the same day as Joseph Stalin, which results in his death being overshadowed in the media.